January is Alzheimer Awareness Month
When a person has Alzheimer’s, appointments with health and dental care practitioners are inevitable. However, those appointments also cause disruption to routines that are often calming for persons with dementia.
If you are a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s, here are some things you can do to reduce stress and enhance success during Denturist appointments.
Plan for success
John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” He was referring to fixing a potential problem before it becomes a problem.
Before arriving to a denture appointment, ensure your loved one’s comfort and satisfy their physical and emotional needs. Doing so before the appointment can make the difference between a good appointment or a bad one.
Before the appointment
- Ensure they have something to eat
- Provide an opportunity for exercise, if possible
- Encourage the patient to use the restroom before leaving for the appointment
- Contact the denture clinic to discuss ways they can help to improve the appointment experience for your loved one
- Consider rescheduling the appointment if they are having a bad day
At the appointment
- Bring a bottle of water or thermos of tea to ensure they do not get thirsty before the appointment ends
- If your loved one tends to be cold, consider bringing a sweater or blanket
- Provide a familiar security object to help the patient feel more relaxed
During denture appointments, the biggest comfort for your loved one is simply your presence and support.
Employ any specific calming strategies that you find work best with your loved one. In addition, we offer the following general tips to reduce anxiety:
- Stay within sight to help with other unfamiliar faces and strange equipment and sounds
- If physical touch helps to calm them, hold their hand
- Use calming phrases such as: “You’re safe here” or “I will stay with you”
- If your loved one becomes agitated, phrases like “I’m sorry that you are upset” and “I will stay until you feel better” can help calm them
Good denture and oral health can make eating and digesting food easier for an Alzheimer’s patient, improving their overall quality of life. And as Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one will depend on you more and more for assistance with dental care. We encourage you to keep connected with a Denturist for assistance, information, and support to help you in your dental caregiving tasks.